It’s been a fantastic first week for Women in SF&F Month! Today I just want to round up some related links (including a new one on books reviewed/received by gender) and give away a book.
Week In Review
This week brought some wonderful posts from various guests. Here’s what happened this week in case you missed any posts:
- Jessica from Read React Review started off the week by talking about women in fiction with particular focus on the question of how a woman is defined.
- Nancy Kress discussed women writing science fiction and fantasy, including some research she did on the percentage of women in the SFWA.
- Carol Berg wrote about the evolution of her characters in the Rai-kirah series and her approach to characterization in her stories.
- Kristin from My Bookish Ways shared five of her favorite female authors who write science fiction and fantasy.
- Elizabeth Bear gave us a simple tip for how we can support women writing science fiction.
Thanks to all of these week’s guests, who have gotten the month off to a great start!
There were a few links I saw this week that are related to the issue of gender and SFF. I wanted to share some of them because I think they’re worth reading and important to the topic.
This week Strange Horizons posted a breakdown of books and reviews by gender for several venues, including Locus and Asimov’s. They also used Locus as a general guideline for books received for review by gender. They discovered they received a fairly equal number of books by men and women from US publishers (47% by women and 53% by men). Only about a third of the books received from the UK were written by women, though. There were some caveats in place, such as the fact that they counted all individual books received and sometimes they had to assume the gender of the writer, but these are some rather interesting results. (I found this on Cheryl’s Mewsings.)
Catherynne M. Valente wrote about the recent brouhaha over Christopher Priest ripping apart the Clarke Award nominees and how different it would have been had a woman written the same post.
It’s that if a woman wrote it, she’d have been torn to pieces. No quarter, no mercy.
Seanan McGuire briefly talked about her experience with the type of situations Catherynne Valente was discussing in the above post and then went on to talk about a sign she saw at Emerald City that said, “Finally, a book for BOYS that the GIRLS will enjoy reading, too!” She concludes with:
Let’s all just read the books we want to read, regardless of covers or the gender of the main characters, okay? Because otherwise, we’re missing out on a lot of really great stories. And that would be a shame.
Yes, this! I am so tired of seeing references to “books for women” or “books for men.” Can’t we just have books for people who like to read instead of trying to tell each gender what types of books should appeal to them? I’ve had people tell me about books they want me to review and describe them this way and it makes me want to bang my head against my keyboard.
Today I am giving away one copy of Dragon Sword and Wind Child, a fantasy book written by Noriko Ogiwara and translated by Cathy Hirano. I very much enjoyed this book, as I said in my review of Dragon Sword and Wind Child earlier this year.
Dragon Sword and Wind Child, the first book in the Tales of the Magatama trilogy, was originally published in Japan in 1988. Noriko Ogiwara won the New Writer’s Award from the Japanese Association of Children’s Writers for this book, which was her first. This one and the second book in the trilogy, Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince, have been translated into English. I’m not sure if the third one will be or not, but don’t worry – Dragon Sword and Wind Child stands well on its own and the author actually never planned to write a sequel, according to the afterword from the second book.
The story behind this book and how it was received is quite interesting. In the afterword for the first book, Noriko Ogiwara explains that it is a sort of melding of Western and Japanese literature. She very much enjoyed both Japanese literature and Western fantasy books so she used the Kojiki as the basis for the mythology in her story the way a lot of British and American fantasy authors do with Celtic mythology. She also notes that fantasy was not really respected in Japan at the time she wrote this, and she expected her work to receive the same treatment. However, as mentioned on her bio, Dragon Sword and Wind Child is considered the ‘first truly “Japanese” fantasy’ and is ‘a young adult classic in Japan.’
About Dragon Sword and Wind Child:
The God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness have waged a ruthless war across the land of Toyoashihara for generations. But for fifteen-year-old Saya, the war is far away—until the day she discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and a princess of the Children of the Dark.
Raised to love the Light and detest the Dark, Saya must come to terms with her heritage even as the Light and Dark both seek to claim her, for she is the only mortal who an awaken the legendary Dragon Sword, the weapon destined to bring an end to he war. Can Saya make the choice between the Light and Dark, or is she doomed—like all the Water Maidens who came before her…?
Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below. One entry per person and a winner will be randomly selected. This giveaway is open internationally, but to be eligible to win, you must live in a country that qualifies for free shipping from The Book Depository. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Saturday, April 14. The winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I don’t hear from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me with a place to send the book).
Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.
[contact-form-7 id=”2340″ title=”Dragon Sword and Wind Child Entry Form”]